Yorkshire Forward
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Volunteer Scheme Improves Literacy of Pupils in Region

A Bradford-based reading support charity, Reading Matters, is being sponsored by Yorkshire Forward this year - the National Year of Reading.

The charity helps young people in Yorkshire and Humber improve their reading skills by providing them with one-to-one support through volunteers from local businesses.

Reading Matters trains all volunteers before they are partnered with pupils, who they will spend one or two hours with a week during term-time. Pupils chosen for the scheme are primarily 11-16 years old and struggle with reading skills and confidence.

A report by Leeds Metropolitan University found that after just 10 weeks with a Reading Matters’ volunteer pupils an average gain 15 months in their reading age. Pupils’ attitudes to reading, confidence in the classroom, speech and language also improved.

In many cases this resulted in a GCSE pass, making a significant difference to their employability, which demonstrates this scheme has the potential to change lives.

Reading Matters has been implementing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes for ten years. Not only does the scheme benefit the pupils, it is also a rewarding investment of employees’ time. Those businesses involved are viewed more positively by employees and their profiles are raised locally, building strong links with local schools and the communities they sit within.

Ruth Adams, Head of Skills for Yorkshire Forward said: “Reading Matters has made a real difference to the young people in our region and I am glad Yorkshire Forward is involved in a scheme which allows pupils, businesses and employees from local areas to mutually benefit from such an accessible activity.”

Notes to editors:

Yorkshire Forward

• Yorkshire Forward is the Regional Development Agency behind the economic regeneration of Yorkshire and Humber. It aims to make a positive difference by investing in jobs, improving towns and cities, and in supporting businesses throughout the region.

• Over the past year, Yorkshire Forward has created and safeguarded more than 22,254 jobs, assisted 60,005 people in skills, created 1,067 businesses and attracted £467m in investment.

• Yorkshire Forward’s investment across the region is maximised by attracting European Regional Development Funding from the Objectives One and Two programmes and the 2007-2013 Regional Competitiveness and Employment Programmes.

• For further information, images or to arrange an interview, please contact Laura Scholey, Press Executive on 0113 3949540 or email laura.scholey@yorkshire-forward.com


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